Jason and I just held our annual Halloween bash. As always, it was a tremendous undertaking. The planning for this event usually begins sometime in August and escalates as it approaches. Thinking of putting on a Halloween shindig of your own? May our terrifying process convince you that that would only be lunacy. Every year is a little different but here are the 26 steps that were required to produce and recover from our festivities this time:
1. Create and order invites.
2. Buy prizes for the costume contest, bingo and various other games with all ages considered.
3. Order costume contest medals.
4. Buy fabric and sew costumes. One sentence doesn’t seem adequate to represent the work involved in this. Good thing I just made it three.
5. Tag and decorate 48 bottles of butterscotch beer as party favors for the adults.
6. Buy a piñata and its fillings. Stuff it.
7. Arrange for food. This year’s sustenance came in the form of catering from Waffle Love. They brought their delicious waffles, and waffle truck, to us.
8. Buy supplies for the kids’ craft table.
9. Build a custom playlist with all those Halloween favorites and some lesser-known creepy beats.
10. Buy kiddie goodie-bags plus an assortment of innards and cram them all in. This year we put together almost 40 of these bags and all but a few were given out.
11. Address and mail invites.
12. Gussy up costume contest prizes with ribbons, feathers, eyeballs and anything else bumpy in the night.
13. Prep craft table by constructing examples of all the finished products so that the little folk will know what they’re trying to make.
14. Go to a patch and handpick pumpkins. Paint these pumpkins black and white so guests can decorate them with chalk and decals. All this jack-o business took way too long so don’t expect it to happen again next year.
15. Create costume contest ballots.
16. Buy utensils, plates, napkins, drinks and all those other eating niceties.
17. Move couches, rugs, kitchen appliances, pictures, etc. upstairs or into the garage, anywhere they are out of the way.
18. Vacuum, dust and straighten the basement. Everything has to be tucked away somewhere to make room for the people explosion that’s about to occur.
19. Decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, decorate, and decorate. I feel like I should say “decorate” a few dozen more times because decorating is a monster of a job. We meticulously arrange creepy cloth, candlesticks, bones, potion bottles, pumpkins, lights, ravens and so forth throughout our yard and two floors of our home. Every year we display our extensive Halloween collection differently and every year gallons of creative juices get consumed in the process.
20. Arrange studio lights and a background to form a makeshift photo spot. I didn’t have a clue how to work and situate studio lights before this little experiment. It took some messing around and research to figure it out.
21. Rent space heaters so that the backyard can be a toasty hangout location.
22. Clean. Everything has to be spick ‘n span before it’s thrown into chaos. It’s a lot like nursing a patient back to health before serving out their death sentence.
23. Throw party!
24. Clean up the raspberries smashed into the sidewalk, the sticky goo left on the kitchen floor, the blob of who-knows-what dripped on the carpet. Cleanup is lengthy and not especially fun.
25. Put relocated furnishings back where they came from.
26. Pack away the dozens of boxes of Halloween décor so that they are ready for the vicious cycle to begin all over again next year. (This step has not yet been completed and will still take us weeks.)
Too many steps for you to follow? Not to worry, you can come to the Sabin party and enjoy all the fun and fright without rattling your work bones. So why do we do it? The obvious answer is that we are crazy but, besides that, we love Halloween and conjuring the spooky magic of the season up for the wee ones. We also enjoy reminding adults that costumes aren’t just for kids.
This year we had considerably more help pulling this madness off than we’ve had in the past. Many thanks to Lee and Jacob for lending us a hand with basement prep one evening. Keith, thanks for the pickup service. A big thank you to Drew, Adam, Jacob and Lee for helping the kids bowl and Jenny and Simone for assisting with some of the other games. And muchas gracias to the various people that collected many of the cups and craft fragments scattered throughout our house: Abigail, Simone, Drew, Adam and Jeremy. Since Jason and I are a tiny team, any bit of assistance from others goes a long way. Maybe we aren’t quite mad yet…